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  • Writer's pictureDale Webster

ANZ closes early for Christmas parties on busiest day of year

Updated: Dec 24, 2023



ABOVE: The only warning given to customers was a sign on the doors.

DURING the COVID crisis, Australia’s major banks lobbied hard to be counted as an essential service so they could remain open during lockdowns.  


Yesterday afternoon around Australia, ANZ customers needing to do their banking on the last business day before Christmas were confronted by locked doors and a note saying we "will be closing early”.


At a regional Victorian branch, an angry customer who rapped on the Perspex screen that barred entry until a staff member answered was told “we’re having a Christmas party”.


The manager then claimed customers had been advised online (they hadn’t) but was asked how would elderly customers who don’t do internet banking find out?


He had no answer.


While this was going on customers started lining up outside. One woman had been scammed and needed help because she had to cancel her cards. She was asked why she couldn’t use the “app”. Her answer was that she had previously been hacked and lost all her money so she removed it from her phone because she no longer felt safe.


Behind her was a staff member from a supermarket trying to bank takings before the Christmas break.


“I guess I’ll just have to take it back to work,” he said.


The first customer had needed to withdraw cash for her 92-year-old mother to give as gifts.


The money had to be withdrawn over the counter using a shared signatory arrangement so no cash for Christmas for that customer of more than 70 years.


These few examples occurred in the space of 10 minutes at just one branch.


The following day, news broke in Western Australia that a victim of the bushfire at Parkville had been turned away from his local branch at 1.40pm on Friday.


Nine news reported the man who had lost his home, his pets and had nothing but the clothes he stood up in when he sought help from ANZ when it should have been open, only to be told to come back Wednesday.


Closing early was a national decision taken by ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott and its impact played out across the country over the 2 ½ hours customers reasonably expected to be able to access their bank branch on the most important trading day of the year.


The Victorian manager stated that ANZ had an obligation to look after its staff.


He was swiftly told that ANZ also has an obligation to look after its customers – something that is infinitely more important given that it is their money that allows the bank to hold a licence to operate.


Were you impacted by ANZ or any other bank closing early on Friday? Tell us about your experience at contact@theregional.com.au


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